Friday, June 11, 2010

An Open Letter to M. Linden

Today in my in-box I got an email from M Linden, the CEO of Linden Lab. It's a form letter email thing, seeking to reassure me that Linden Lab still has a lot of money and they're not about to go under, so don't panic. I think the implication here is that I shouldn't abandon my virtual land; I'm not sure who's getting this email, but I'd wager it's land owners and/or Concierge-level accounts, since none of my alts got it.

Just a little context: Linden Lab just laid off 1/3 of its employees, announced it wanted to move towards an all-web-based interface, and released a new alpha-level viewer v.2.1 that has a non-functional LSL editor, WITHIN TWO DAYS. :-)

I want to make my response public. So here it is:

Greetings, M.

I want to address one thing in specific in what you're saying here.

On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 7:14 PM, M Linden wrote:


> It is during times like this that partnerships are tested and I – as CEO –
> want you to know that we value our partnership with you and that Second Life
> and Linden Lab are solid. This kind of transition is difficult for any
> company, but it need not be difficult for our customers. Our restructuring
> leaves Linden Lab in a stronger position; Second Life remains the creative
> and inspiring platform it always has been.

I've always said that LL corporate people don't understand their customer. Your statements here make it clear that you do not.

Your customers pay a great deal of money for your product. You have people paying thousands of dollars a month for tier, and small-timers like me who still pay around $125/month. That's US$, btw. I pay that amount of money because I have faith in the product, and that amount of money clearly makes me your customer.

So what you needed to do was to find out who I am (and people like me are), before you laid off 1/3 of the people whose work I'm buying from you. You see, we've been enjoying the benefits of SL despite the policy missteps and technical limitations. That's because we had a good-faith agreement with Linden Lab (in our minds, at least), that things would get incrementally better, even if things were falling apart around us.

You just burned that good faith. No SL resident will believe a word you say ever again. It might be that you really don't care, and that your mission here is to kill SL, or transform the brand into a Facebook app or something. If that's the case, then hire back those fired and start another company. We the Concierge-level customers are paying for the product that you're selling *now.*

Either you have done exactly what you set out to do, which was churn over the old-timers to make way for newbies who will believe the hype, or you have exactly zero idea how to serve the customers that are making you rich. I am not worried that LL might be going bankrupt as evidenced by massive layoffs. I am, however, worried that your vision of a future Second Life has no room for the experience I enjoy already.

If you want to discuss this for real, I will drop what I'm doing, fly to San Francisco and buy you dinner and we can do that. Send the word.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Build: Farstone Ruins

My home sim is Farstone, where I have a sandbox and some rentals.

A 1.5km2 parcel came up for sale, and I wanted to get it and add it to the prim pool. Also, one of the neighbors had just build a house with a Confederate flag flapping in the breeze, so I didn't want more of that. So what to do with the land?

Let it sit as flat green? Of course not.

Thus was born the Farstone Ruins. From the parcel description: "Once upon a time, this corner of Farstone was an outpost of a mighty kingdom. That was back before the sim was PG. They fought and died here for... some reason, I guess. Now a few ruins are all that remains."

The basic idea for this build has been echoed on a number of Arbor Project parcels that are big enough to sustain it. The build is really only about the landscaping. I might develop this, delve deeper, and learn the story of these ancient battlements, but for now it's just more pretty than flat green.

Teleport here:

Farstone Ruins

Farstone Ruins

Farstone Ruins

Same deal, but in Dewey, as an Arbor build... (Visit in person:

Dewey Ruins

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Space Dome

Space Dome

Day 370: The small dome structure I've been living in has not been enough to sustain me. It keep me alive, but does not give me room. I can either be confined within this tiny survival dome or confined within my space suit outside. I have decided to add another, bigger room. I have given up being able to repair the ship after its crash, so I will scavenge some of the control room glass and engine room structures. I hope I am not making a mistake.

Day 483: I have completed work on the building, and pressure tests indicate it's liveable. I am so relieved. I was worried that my attempts to be artful would result in complete destruction, but all is well. I will be able to start living, rather than merely surviving.

Day 484: I am rescued. I can't stop laughing. The rescue crew thinks I have lost my mind, which, in a way, I might have. Glad to be going home, but wish I could take my new home with me.

I just listed the Space Dome on XStreetSL.

I built it for L1Aura Loire, who used it as part of a build at the Second Life 6th Birthday event.

One of the limitations of the SL6B event was that megaprims were forbidden. So this build could be made more prim-efficient, but Oh Well. It's still pretty low, at 36 prims with some degree of detail.

Note that it's taken me for-freakin'-ever to get this listed. :-)

Friday, June 5, 2009

More Odyssey

Over on the Odyssey ning thing, Helfe referenced a really wonderful video about Odyssey.

Beavis Palowakski (RL: Chris Rush) talks about Odyssey, and talks about his intentions in designing the Exhibit A gallery. I'm relieved to discover I guessed correctly. :-)

And here it is:

Also, Gazira Babelli's mixed-reality show in Berlin:

(I want a hammer!)

Build Log: Gandhi In Jail

I'm very very glad to work with artist Joseph DeLappe (SL: Joseph Grommet) on his performance piece, Gandhi In Jail.

Last year he did a project involving marching a Second Life avatar named MGandhi Chakrabarti around Second Life, in commemoration of the Gandhi's Salt Satyagraha. I was truly honored to have been around when he said he had reached the 240 mile mark, ending the piece.

Now the project is to put Gandhi in prison for 9 months. The location is Odyssey sim, where MGandhi built his own prison. I was asked to make a larger compound with a wall and gate, that would enclose the smaller prison cell buildling.

So I did.

I'm especially proud of the gate, for which I scripted an animated deadbolt, and put together some sounds based on what must be the most wonderful field recording of a squeaky door ever.


Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Second Life: Gandhi In Jail Build

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Google says no one on the web has used the term 'misfenestration.'

So I shall, and I shall define it, too:

'Misfenestration' is when you type into the wrong chat window by accident. In Second Life, if you type local chat like "No, that's not a cucumber!" into the group chat for, oh, say, SL Hobos, your misfenestration will be mocked.

Also here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Land Healing: Abandoned By Dr Destiny

Abandoned By Dr Destiny

This picture makes me very happy.

It means that Dr Destiny, avatar of Second Life, has decided to abandon a bunch of small parcels of virtual land. Dr Destiny has an interesting story... He set up tiny parcels of virtual land to be ads for his main 'store,' which was basically a place to go and send him an email or something. Dr Destiny's gig, you see, was basically a sort of psychotherapist fortune-teller in Second Life.

It didn't work out too well, especially with the new ad rules. Now he's finally abandoning much of his land.